Photo: Fay Fox
Originally from the green hills of Bennington, Vermont, mezzo soprano Katherine Beck is establishing herself as a force in the opera, concert and chamber music realms across the United States.
Ms. Beck is a current member of the Ryan Opera Center with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, where she will soon perform one of the Rhinemaidens with Lyric Opera of Chicago's production of Twilight: Gods this spring of 2021.
Known for her warmth, flexibility, honesty, and flair in works by Handel, Rossini, Mozart and more, Beck is a winner of the prestigious George London Foundation Award and has sung on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera as a semifinalist in the Met Opera National Council Competition as of March 2020.
Ms. Beck made her debut at the Santa Fe Opera in the summer of 2019 as Karolka in David Alden's award-winning staging of Jenufa. She also covered Ms. Emily D'Angelo as Dorabella in Cosi fan tutte.
"sung by the balmy-voiced mezzo soprano Katherine Beck" ......"uniformly excellent"
Ms. Beck is a two-year alumna of the Marion Roose Pullin Opera Studio at Arizona Opera, where she was applauded for performances Mary Johnson in Fellow Travelers and Cherubino in all mainstage performances of Le nozze di Figaro in Phoenix and Tucson. Other notable stage-time with Arizona includes Catherine Wright in Shining Brow, Flora in La traviata, Madeleine Audebert in Silent Night, and Dryade in Ariadne auf Naxos.
Equally comfortable in new music as well as standard repertoire, Katie also created the role of Lisette in the premiere of Gerald Cohen’s Steal a pencil for me in January 2018 at Opera Colorado while she was a resident artist. She also performed the title role of La Cenerentola over thirty times times at all altitudes across the state of Colorado while on tour.
Beck also performed the title in La Cenerentola recently in downtown Los Angeles with Opera Buffs, Inc in December 2019. Prior to that, she sang Mercedes in Carmen alongside Charles Castronovo, Kelley O’Connor and Rod Gilfry in 2017, also with Opera Buffs.
"There was fine supporting work from mezzo Katherine Beck (as the couple's friend and messenger Lisette)"
Ms. Beck finds a second home on the recital stage in art song and chamber music, and she is a two-time Vocal Arts fellow of the Tanglewood Music Center. In the summer of 2018, Katie was chosen to premiere a new work for orchestra by Michael Gandolfi titled In America, composed in celebration of Bernstein’s Songfest and was praised for her “astute delivery of this powerful setting” (The Boston Musical Intelligencer). In the summer of 2017, highlights of Ms. Beck’s summer at Tanglewood included her performance of a recital of French art song with Roger Vignoles, as well as a celebration of humor in music in recital alongside longtime mentors Stephanie Blythe and Dr. Alan Smith. She has performed the mezzo solos in Mozart’s Requiem at Scripps College in 2017, Mendelssohn’s Elijah with Williams College in 2013, and Handel’s Messiah for many consecutive years in Arlington, Vermont. Ms. Beck has also been featured on a series of concerts of Bach oratorios at the oldest church in New England, in her hometown of Bennington.
"Highlights of Sondheim included Katherine Beck's touching rendition of "Send in the Clowns"
Beck is also a powerhouse in crossover repertoire. The Ryan Opera Center has encouraged Katie to showcase her talents not only in opera, but in jazz and musical theater repertoire, as well, seen in the many virtual broadcasts produced by the Lyric during the pandemic. In 2017, Ms. Beck made her Symphony Hall debut in Boston with the Boston Pops Orchestra in the premiere of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Sondheim on Sondheim alongside four Tony-winning and Tony-nominated artists. The performance had its reprise at the Koussevitsky Music Shed at Tanglewood that July, with Mr. Sondheim himself in attendance.
"Katherine Beck was a powerhouse as her son, Sextus, seeking and getting vengeance"
Other favorite opera roles performed include Béatrice in Béatrice et Bénédict at the University of Southern California, Sesto in Giulio Cesare in Egitto with Pittsburgh Festival Opera, and another Sesto in La clemenza di Tito, also at the University of Southern California.
Ms. Beck holds degrees from the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California (MM) and SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music (BM).
When Katie isn’t singing or practicing, she can be found hiking or rock climbing in the nearest mountains with her husband Scott, catching up with friends and family, or enjoying a glass of wine.